As the title of the play states directly, it is important to be earnest.
Yet it seems that the characters in the play do not agree exactly about what earnestness is. Furthermore, while they generally agree that earnestness is important, they go about embodying it—or failing to do so—in diverse ways; lying, being hypocritical, etc. In this essay, two characters and their respective definitions of and approaches to earnestness will be compared and contrasted. By examining the different definitions of earnestness, the writer will offer an argument about what the author defined as earnest and why he believed this quality was important.